Analysis of example videos from 3 Classrooms
1.Project base learning Roller coaster physics:
And lesson plan: http://pilotrobertmace.edu.glogster.com/roller-coaster-lab/
Example of Ms. Donna Migdol class demonstrates fantastic project base learning of 5th graders.
The base foundation for that class was exceptional lesson plan well organized and thought through. It included not only learning objectives presentation and work with material plan, but also very clear and relevant accommodating set of norms and rules.
It becomes apparent from the video that behavioral issue is not a problem in that class. Kids are really involved in learning process which itself set on high academicals expectations. But to to reach academical expectations the base of behavioral expectations was established.
That video shows us the result of implementing rules norms and procedure and creating positive learning atmosphere.
In that project students are involved in studying and experimenting with Roller Coaster Physics; they are designing a roller coaster that is both fun and safe as they learn about Newton’s 3 laws of motion.
Through the process of that project students learn how to communicate (explain/present) ideas, perform system thinking, apply theoretical science to design and modify models, solve problems, experiment with different materials…
That list can be continued and it is important to emphasize that many of the skills are definitely fit in class of 21st century skills.
This project-based learning was in reached with various approaches and tools. Kids manually made experimental materials, measured and collected data and father analyzed it and present data using computers. Lesson demonstrated great use of technology.
We sow impressive approach to encourage students to think about connection of theory project problem with real worlds limitations like financial cost. Those categories of project, price and fun cover lots of aspects for problem solving.
Through the steps of the project students worked on its optimization they deal with misconception to clear out correct understanding.
Doing a teamwork approach students have a choice of type of work they can do in order to be most efficient and do something they actually like following their intrinsic motivation (organizer/ leader – control of process, accountant – money balance budgeting). That gave them a sense of freedom an opportunity to practice “profession “choice.
So vile learning Science and its application students welcome problems and enjoyed the challenge.
That lesson gain to create life long problem solvers who can figure out steps for solving problems and will not be afraid of them.
Teacher communicated those high objectives with big trust in student’s abilities to reach them.
- The Chinese Third Grade Math Class:
In that class students in a 3rd grade Chinese math class repeat a series of rhymes/ chants while learning multiplication table and other math questions. Students seem to be really engaged in a class activity there is no sign of disobedient behavior.
It is clear that kids know the routines / traditions of lesson and they having fun demonstrating their knowledge.
Teacher obviously spent lots of time practicing with kids, training them before we see video results.
Teacher keeps real high intensity –I felt like it was in that in that gym aerobic group of next level when you really can not catch up with moves as you were not training with group before. She keeps on bringing positive reinforcement to answering students (as far as my Chinese go to understand that…) Clearly teacher has high expectations of her students both in performance and behavior
From the article we find out that, Chinese students begin learning their math’s facts at a very early age: math textbooks begin with multiplication in the first semester of second grade, when children are seven years old. In order to understand multiplication, pupils have to memories the multiplication rhyme: “four times eight is 32, five times eight is 40” and so on, which was invented by ancient Chinese scholars 2,200 years ago.
Reflection of that tradition we see in the video
“Chinese math education holds a believe that routine practice is the most efficient way to learn.”
Out of my experience living in China I know that it is a the country of high expectations for kids and often it reflects in a huge pressure of parents to kids and society on parents.
Kids must spend endless hours studying taking extra schools and using tutoring help.
All that if parents can afford that and all that often results in a psychological breakdowns of kids.( or kids are sort of missing the childhood …)
Another side of Chinese approach is big luck of creativity in teaching and as a
result in society in general. The routine practice is great approach but it cannot be the only approach.
So the problem of lack of height expectation in a west might have reverse side in some cases.
- Whole Brain Teaching (WBT):
In that class example teacher is using the Whole Brain Teaching method (WBT). I looked it up and found big support system, special website with advice on that approach and option for membership … And it seems that one can take it to extreme and implemented everywhere. Like that video may be were saturated with WBT, but it was great to demonstrate its efficiency.
I liked short 5 rules coming from WBT: 1. Follow directions quickly. 2. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat. 3. Raise your hand for permission to speak. 4. Make smart choices 5. Keep your teacher happy.
Using more gestures and signs can be great in a class to mountain concentration on new subject and not wasting time for side problems.
Great idea of use of motoric in connection with obtaining information that is definitely help for making body brain connections to stimulate memories and also teaching use of gesticulation and keeps students tuned and connected.
Teacher for sure has the attention of all students; she keeps bringing them back by using “call and answer” technique
For sure this teacher also have high behavior and performance expectations of her students
Setting high performance expectations among my students
All of the 3 videos present interesting and impressive/successful examples of communicating teacher’s expectations to students. Students are facing challenges to reach higher in their achievements.
I would like to take some of their approaches to my teaching practices. The project-learning example is especially applicable to science teaching of middle school. Making that stimulating environment for reaching top potential of students is important.
And I see that it based on strong base of behavioral expectation and training with farther creating approach to presenting academic challenges.
I will read more about WBT techniques as it seems some of them as well as chanting approach can be used for holding class together but I see those as additional tool may be specially for transitions and structuring the class.
Keeping respect, as a fundamental rule is important. One can build up collaborative and also stimulating competitive approach without loosing positive atmosphere in a class.
Unit 1 Act.3
Establishing an atmosphere of tolerance is essential for building a ‘caring’ climate. Students have lots of opportunities at school to practice this but if it is not taught in a thoughtful way, the meaning can get lost.
Tolerance, empathy, respect and consideration can be ambiguous to both students and teachers who think of school mainly in terms of academic subjects.
However, whether you are a 1st grade teacher or a high school physics teacher, these social/emotional experiences are vital for life-long success and I strongly contend, ‘happiness’.
The idea that the classroom is a ‘melting pot’ where everyone is homogenized into a single ‘perfect’ student is not a realistic and utterly culturally offensive. Cultural and ethnic diversity should be welcomed, celebrated and integrated into all lessons (academics, arts, culture) and the overall school community through practices, routines and traditions that honor and promote this ideology.
As a teacher, it’s important to build a strong relationship with your students. Trust and caring is NOT something that can be created by simply writing them down on a piece of cardboard and placing it on the wall.
Start this process in the same way that people normally form relationships, by sharing personal experiences and cultural backgrounds. This is difficult for some people/teachers but ‘sharing’ will help build ‘understanding’ and even ‘empathy’.
This practice of ‘sharing’ can be done as a whole class, in small groups or with a partner. ‘Open-ended’ questions will help stimulate dialogue and engage all levels of learners.
Structuring lessons that integrate a variety cultural perspectives are easy to do Educators have ready access to resources from around the world. Sharing lessons and communicating with teachers and students globally can be done on a multitude of websites, through SKYPE, Blogs and video-sharing sites.
Classes can establish a relationship with other schools through emails or blogs with students in Asia, the Middle East, Oceania or anywhere!
Sharing can read articles, have discussions, form questions and interview each other. They can create videos, participate in forums and internationally minded clubs like Model UN and Amnesty International.
There is a story of Rip Van Winkle who awoke from his 300-year nap. He woke up and nothing looked familiar as he walked around the streets of New York city until he walked into the school …Rip remembered that one of the reasons he had enjoyed going to school was socializing … Three hundred years had passed, but Rip still felt more at home in the “modern” classroom than anywhere else in a society. He sow teachers still standing affront of the class reading from the book and students still sitting in a straight rows and talk was discouraged.
Is it a true picture? -To big extends YES. How is it possible that all attempts for innovation in a school still drown by much in a routine work and pressure of traditional approach?
Integrating 21st Century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects – needed
More awareness on all levels is necessary as we are in a 21st century and the world keeps on changing. To prepare students for a future one shall not only think about skills of today but also try to predict how progress will go in next years to come.
To prepare kids for those unknowing changes we need to teach them adaptability and universal skills. This diagram is demonstrating 21st century skills ideas.
Keeping them in mind and making sure that once creating a lesson plan you have those skills on checklist will place learning process to right direction.
Here is a sum-up of the main 21 century skills so called 4C.
Knowing them one can think of ways to integrate them into teaching and learning. Great examples of implementing 4c in a class( below) can be easily applicable to science lessons of middle school.
- Creativity and Innovation
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Communication and Collaboration
Creativity and Innovation
- Use a wide range of idea creation techniques (such as brainstorming)
- Create new and worthwhile ideas (both incremental and radical concepts)
- Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts
Work Creatively with Others
- Develop, implement and communicate new ideas to others effectively
- Be open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives; incorporate group input and feedback into the work
- Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work and understand the real world limits to adopting new ideas
- View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes
- Act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Use various types of reasoning (inductive, deductive, etc.) as appropriate to the situation
Use Systems Thinking
- Analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other to produce overall outcomes in complex systems
Make Judgments and Decisions
- Effectively analyze and evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs
- Analyze and evaluate major alternative points of view
- Synthesize and make connections between information and arguments
- Interpret information and draw conclusions based on the best analysis
- Reflect critically on learning experiences and processes
- Solve different kinds of non-familiar problems in both conventional and innovative ways
- Identify and ask significant questions that clarify various points of view and lead to better solutions
Communication and Collaboration
- Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts
- Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions
- Use communication for a range of purposes (e.g. to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade)
- Utilize multiple media and technologies, and know how to judge their effectiveness a priori as well as assess their impact
- Communicate effectively in diverse environments (including multi-lingual)
Collaborate with Others
- Demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams
- Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal
- Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member
Integrating the 4C’s into learning will allow students to develop a big range of necessary life skills. For example how to take initiative, questioning, planning, researching, learning social skills, such as cooperation, compromise, communication, using emotional intelligence, and constructive criticism. It can help develop productivity in terms of learning time management, goal setting, planning, research, accountability, and evaluation and leadership skills.
Integrating technology to help student’s access, manage, and use information in an ethical manner, and create media products
There is many options nowadays to be creative towards integrating technology in a class. It is possible to use combination of stationary computers with programs and apps for working with media products and mobile devices for recording (making pictures and videos) collecting materials. It is important to follow good practices and make sure that all students have access to necessary technology and have equal background knowledge to operate computers and devices.
It is vital to have explanation about ethical aspects of placing and using information and pictures from Internet / social networks. Organizing thematic lessons and guest seminars is important to raise student awardee and understanding of ethical aspects
Non-examples 21st century learning
Those can be the cases when use of technology does not lead to desired learning outcome of 4C’s skills (collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication).
Lets say one can use Internet for random browsing or use computer for typing – that use of technology does not result in developing 4c skills.
USING technology in the classroom does not ALWAYS mean students are learning 21st century skills…
The important point is how technology is used. It can only be considered 21st century skills if teachers use technology in such a fashion that develops a student’s ability to think critically, analyze information, evaluate, problem-solve, brain storm, build teamwork, and collaborate with others.
- Framework for 21st century learning Retrieved from: http://www.p21.org/about-us/p21-framework/262
- Critical and Creative Thinking – Bloom’s Taxonomy Retrieved from: http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic69.htm
- Curiosity Teaching Program Retrieved from: http://www.curiositateaching.com/
Yes or no to mobile device in a class:
Using mobile devices in a classroom can seem controversial to many educators.
I agree with no mobile phone policy in a class once it is not needed for a specific activity.
It is very clear that kids nowadays are very attached to their phone – chat options. It is impossible and unnecessary for teacher to compete with mobile devises for attention.
But there are so many good and useful for education features are captured in mobile devices. It is to know what they are and how to use them for various activities with limitation of use to the activity staying on task and have limitation of time so students donor drift away to endless digital world.
The Internet itself is a relatively new and such a powerful for education tool.
We are watching growth of digital citizens generation. And us may be being more of digital immigrants who needs to learn how to use and control the beast of internet in a class in order to bring only good to kids life.
There is an always-negative aspect to be aware besides al the goodness that comes with that new technology:
Globaldigitalcitizen.org discuses the good and evil of net:” We have adapted to Internet presence as a constant, and the idea of its absence seems nearly unimaginable to us. The Internet has allowed us to become true global citizens, both socially and as a workforce. We can now see and track our actions on an international scale; measure our impact on the global environment; we can gauge our social and moral differences and similarities; we can rally together to inspire hope and provide aid for countries dealing with hardships and tragedies. This interconnectedness allows us to see how local or individual efforts can have a global effect. Seeing the impact of the individual in the global community has shown us the great positive potential of the Internet. But, we have also seen that same impact reveal how exposed we can be to scrutiny, to manipulation, to threats to our privacy and security.”
Examples and case for using mobile devices with students for purposes of learning:
Examples of good use mobile devices:
For various activities:
Use Internet search for information, vocabulary, and definitions.
Use camera and video to make projects or document progress
Use communication options to send in information projects to shared online space (Google group)
Use smartphones to stay organized (have a volunteer students receiving reminders for class activities)
The activity will involve use of online mobile map or GPS device.
It is always exiting to do a treasure hunt mostly it is not very important if the treasure are at value but process of seeking and pleasure of finding is a great reward.
I want to use the existing world treasure hunt game www.geocaching.com.
Some kids may be familiar with that some not.
First we go trough short introduction of the game that will involve visit of game website which can be done with help of mobile devices.
We will look at the website and discuss he game.
Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt that’s happening right now, all around you. There are 2,602,234 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide.
There are some cashing around the school so kids will be teamed up to try to locate them.
They will learn use of the mobile map, understanding of GPS coordinates, they will also be provided more clues by teacher so collaborative problem solving will be on. Those who will find treasures will take a pictured to document their success.
Taking in consideration examples above is easy to answer the question “why do you need one or multiple mobile/tablet device(s) in your classroom?”
- to be able to do the variety of activities
- to intensify learning process
- to increase productivity by implementing fun elements
- to teach kids use of mobile devises which are relevant for practical life skills
- to stay organized with help of students or use organizers apps for students and parents
There are of cause some things to check and consider when deciding to use a mobile devises in a lesson.
Important to make sure use of devices stays academic.
Get of the front class and go around the room helping students with their work, all the while overseeing everything to make sure that they’re staying on task.
Making sure that lesson plan is clear and outline-learning objectives will help a lot.
Having a fit back from students using learning checklist can clarify if the use of mobile device was productive towards achieving learning objectives.
Sometimes it can be helpful to let students to use their device for background music listening which can help them to concentrate on particular assignment. If they can do that without disturbing others (by using headphones) , this element of fun can increase their productivity .
One shall not assume that all students have devices or have same knowledge of their features.
While planning particular activity makes sure technical background is covered, may be by letting student check up on each other.
Have a backup plan if some technical difficulties will appear, unstable Internet, dead batteries. (Well having some additional chargers in a class can be good idea to insure that does not happen).
Share your experience with other teachers to receive advice and fit back on use of mobile devise.
Learn about ways of teaching 21st century using technology and specific features of devices to keep o progressing.
Planning for English Language Learners
Next semester I am likely to teach cell structure and function lesson to 6th grade .
In a that class there are kids of different level of English proficiency. I will introduce 3 students and provide examples of activities to adapt lesson to their level of English.
1.Janet moved to Sweden from Portugal 3 years ago and have being in Swedish school till grade 4th with English as additional language but not the language of instructions. Since starting at international school at 4th grade she did lots of progress .She talks in English more often outside of the class sat and speaks up more and more in a class . She is gaining self-confidence and not getting stock on mistakes. She also makes less of those and richer vocabulary. She still needs help of context clues and will not be going out of comfort zone of knowing topic. (Speech Emergent is level of English proficiency)
Possible strategies and steps to support active participation in learning activity
Janet will get a list of new vocabulary related to the lesson topic with sentence samples with new words. She shall make her own sentences with included vocabulary.
Using cell diagram with will help her to remember and understand new vocabulary.
It can be a fill-in-the blank version where Emmy can write down new vocabulary from the list and some the parts she already know from previous class. Ask questions that require a short answer and are fairly literal.
After introducing cell functions in a story telling way she can be asked to repeat the story may be after some more advanced students did it.
Simple questions related to the story can be asked by teacher or by other students .
2.Benjamin is a student with a good command of English in social situations with few errors, but still straggling with academic vocabulary and any new subject. He is lucking vocabulary and has limitation in phrase types he knows. He is from Swedish family, which does not use English at home. (Beginning Fluency is the level of English proficiency)
Possible strategies and steps to support active participation in learning activity
Through the presentation of material small pauses will be made for student to discuss in pairs their understanding of the topic as teacher go trough the material
He will be included in a group discussion of cell function topic or paired with stronger student to go trough use of new vocabulary.
After retelling of cell function story by advanced student he will be asked questions that require a full response with explanation to make sure that he can explain himself clearly or can provide clarification to the answer. If mistakes were made teacher ask him to say it in different way (re-phrase).
As a next lesson task he can prepare short presentation of function of particular organelle the printed visual materials and new vocabulary list will be provided along with examples of more advanced academic language structures such as, “I think,” “In my opinion,” and “When you compare , which he shall use in his presentation.
3.Emily is from Mexico and lived in UK for 2 years before coming to Sweden . She is fluent in social communication and feels comfortable to talk about new subjects and can discuss academic subjects with critical approach to the subject . Some times she has gaps in vocabulary and can improve on specific expressions but she makes only few arrows and confident in her language abilities . (Intermediate Fluency is the level of English proficiency).
Possible strategies and steps to support active participation in learning activity
After providing key vocabulary and phrases of the cell function lesson and group/ pair discussion of material, ask student to retell cell function presentation with some critical( analytical ) approach to it. Formulate simple questions to other students and discuss the answer can be additional task.
Student will fill blank vocabulary card of cell structure/function check vocabulary in pairs and add couple more details about each word and discuss them in pair.
Vocabulary words can be complemented by etymologically close words to demonstrate words constriction.
Teacher will correct mistakes in speech and writing , discuss with student specific area where student have more difficulties and setting up language goals outside of class time .
Interview of special needs teacher (SNT) about referrals for special education:
- How is a student identified for special education (SE) referral?
– Student will be observed for couple of month to see if student difference in performance persists. Finding student history can be very helpful (background, previous studying places and performance, their previous teachers can be contacted)
Student can be considered for SE referral on the parent personal demand.
Student care team discusses final decision. Team normally consist of School Counselor, Special Needs Teacher, different teachers who knows the student (like subject teachers) .
Before admitting student to referral school need to gain parents permit ion to go through the process.
Also information on student observation and performance needs to be collected and organized in order to be presented to psychologist.
- Who takes responsibility for the progress of the child before and after the referral?
-Responsibility is shared between main teacher (subject teachers) and SNT.
Main teacher provides accommodations within class instruction and test conditions, with help and consultation of SNT who suggest the way to accommodate and as well provides modifications for student in a class or in a separate time /place .
- What is the school administration’s directive for special education?
Special Needs Students are welcomed to the school and supported. School tries to do the best job to meet needs of such a student. There is a special needs teacher and counselor in a school, they help with student accommodation.
Sometimes if learning disabilities are more severe student do not feet in a normal classroom environment. In that case school provide information and means to redirect student to specialized school.
- What provisions are made for students identified for special education?
Modifications and accommodations are very individual depending on a student demands and needs.
Once student referred to special needs the IEP (Individual Education Program) will be created. In that plan exact modifications and accommodations will be listed. Some common examples: use of extra time for student, small groups or 1×1 instructions, read out instructions as part of accommodation.
- What is the level of parent involvement in referral process and special education?
Parents have to authorize the process of referral.
Parents are invited for discussion and explanation about student case and have to agree to proceed farther.
Parents can be ask to participate in investigation, observation and providing information about student behavior, they can be asked to feel a questioner.
Psychologist shall do the referral in the mother tongue, it sometimes present difficulty in case of rare language. Parents can help to locate one.
What includes in IEP?
Can be different in different country.
In US it is a legal detailed documents between school, state and parents.
IEP Describes disabilities and setting goals and objectives and methods of accommodation provided with timeline and time amounts to be spend or a student.
Where do you find a source of patience to work with those special kids all the time?
To be a successful SNT and teacher in general you need to be very empathetic person. Once you understand and share emotional state with kids once you know that their world is real and you can make it better for them it gives you a power to go on.
Interview teachers who have referred students, for their perspective on the referral process.
- How do you identify a student for special education?
-Through out observations, daily instructions, formative and informal assessments.
-Noticing differences, delays in performances and various struggles with learning process.
- What are the signs of a struggling student?
-Luck of listening comprehension, verbal and written expression.
-Problems in processing information
– Signs of bad memory level
-Difficulties in socializing , inappropriate behavior , immatureness
- Are there alternate methods of instruction tried out before referring the student for special education? If yes, what are they?
Teacher can try various strategies such as incorporation of visual examples, use of audio books, podcasts, vocabulary lists, and timetable charts, peer tutorials…
Overviewing the interview I shall underline the importance of all teachers in paying attention to possible learning disabilities or other need of students in a class who need special attention. Referral to the special needs is a serious process and that is why it is important to test out different learning strategies for students before concluding of referral. in many cases individualizing approach within a normal class process can be sufficient for some troubled students. I though that idea of peer instructions is really great as students can understand each other better and can help one another in a friendly and efficient way. Instructors students can also give a fit back to the teacher about their understanding of troubled student problem may be in more intuitive way. But figuring out the depth of the problem early on and addressing it ASAP can be a crucial for student development.
Collaboration in special needs is very important part of success, making collective collaborative observations and decisions increase the objectivity and quality.
I did not ask specifically about use of technology in the school where I took the interview, but the teacher did mention use of podcasts as one of the favorite additional help.
May be school one do not need to come in a full form to all schools. Through education about various help of technology for students will help teachers to be more efficient in their help to students and in setting more specific accommodations.
It was not surprising to figured that role of parents is very important in a referral process and in further support of the student. To avoid the situation when parents prefer to hide their kids rather them let them be helped shall be eliminated by education them and general public. Websites and other forms of information for parents about special needs shall be presented to all the parents to raise general awareness and understanding of their own or and other kids special needs.